Down in Southern Florida amidst the spendiest, most budget-busting hotels in the state, a new, affordable boutique hotel brand is emerging in the form of the letter B. B Ocean Fort Lauderdale, and b2 Miami Downtown, to be exact. This budding hotel brand recently invited us down to "The Sunshine State" to experience their own brand of stylish, affordable hospitality firsthand.
At either property, beyond the sleek decor, you'll immediately notice another unique feature – affordable nightly rates. According to Expedia, a king room at the 3.5-star b2 Miami Downtown starts at $113, while a king or double room at the 4-star B Ocean Fort Lauderdale costs $122 (we searched over select dates in September). Similar properties in Downtown Miami tend to run around $169, while beachfront accommodation in Fort Lauderdale starts at about $179.
Both properties are especially convenient for those embarking on a cruise, letting you spend some time relaxing at your home port before setting sail. From the B Ocean, Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades cruise terminal is a quick 15-minute drive away. And if you pack lightly, you can walk to Port Miami from the b2. For an easy drive to the port, try using the local car-share program Car2Go, which has an arrangement with b2. Let the hotel know in advance if you plan to use this service and they'll waive your $35 registration fee – an exclusive perk. Before you leave, simply look out the window from your hotel room to see if your ship is there – most rooms at b2 provide excellent views of the cruise port.
Both the b2 and B Ocean provide spacious standard accommodations with airy decor that reflects the area's laid-back, beach-centric lifestyle. The 4-star B Ocean goes the extra mile with special touches like a snack box offering a variety of munchies and beverages, designer white-leather chairs, and extra-large closets. Plus, at B Ocean, you don't even need the decor to remind you you're near the beach – every single room boasts floor-to-ceiling windows with unobstructed views of Fort Lauderdale's white-sand coast, just across the street.
Both properties offer two of our favorite in-room amenities: complimentary Wi-Fi and interactive LCD TVs. Besides on-demand movies and cable channels, you can order a spa treatment, or room service with your TV remote.
At the b2's Biscayne Tavern, and you're likely to find a mix of hotel guests and locals. Opened by acclaimed China Grill developer Jeffrey Chodorow, this gastro-pub's menu includes savory snacks like eggplant fries and dynamite shrimp, and a wide selection of domestic microbrews from Florida and beyond. Back at B Ocean, make sure to try the fresh sushi at SAIA, light lunch fare at the pool bar, and sample a variety of wines from the self-serve bar.
Click here for special packages at b2, and here for B Ocean. And in early 2014, look for the chain's newest addition in Orlando, B Resort, which will open it's doors within the Walt Disney World Resort.